State v. Shaw, 207 N.C. App. 369 (Oct. 5, 2010)

The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court took into account a non-statutory aggravating factor neither stipulated to nor found by the jury beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant’s argument was based on the trial court’s comments that (1) the defendant could have been tried for premeditated first degree murder and (2) “the State . . . made a significant concession . . . allowing [him] to plead second-degree murder.” When taken in context, these comments were merely responses to those made by defense counsel.